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18. [47]

You have now seen how many things and what valuable things the decemvirs are likely to sell with the sanction of the law. That is not enough. When they have sated themselves with the blood of the allies, and of foreign nations, and of kings, they will then cut the sinews of the Roman people; they will lay hands on your revenues; they will break into your treasury. For a clause follows, in which he is not content with permitting, if by chance any money should be wanting, (which, however, can be amassed in such quantities from the effect of the previous clauses, that it ought not to be wanting,) but which actually (as if that was likely to be the salvation of you all) orders and compels the decemvirs to sell all your revenues, naming each item separately. [48] And do you now read to me in regular order, the catalogue of the property of the Roman people which is for sale according to the written provisions of this law. A catalogue which I think, in truth, will be miserable and grievous to the very crier himself. He is as prodigal a spendthrift with regard to the property of the republic, as a private individual is with regard to his own estate, who sells his woods, before he sells his vineyards. You hare gone all through Italy, now go on into Sicily. There is nothing in that province which your ancestors have left to you as your own property, either in the towns, or in the fields, which he does not order to be sold. [49] All that property, which, having been gained by their recent victory, your ancestors left to you in the cities and territories of the allies, as both a bond of peace and a monument of war, will you now, though you received it from them, sell it at this man's instigation? Here for a moment I seem, O Romans, to move your feelings, while I make plain to you the plots when they think have escaped every one's notice, as having been laid by them against the dignity of Cnaeus Pompeius. And, I beseech you, pardon me if I am forced to make frequent mention of that man's name. You, O Romans, imposed this character on me, two years ago, in this very same place, and bound me to share with you in the protection of his dignity during his absence, in whatever manner I could. I have hitherto done all that I could, not because I was persuaded to it by my intimacy with him, nor from any hope of honour; or of any most honourable dignity; which I have gained by your means, in his absence, though no doubt with his perfect goodwill. [50] Wherefore, when I perceive that nearly the whole of this law is made ready, as if it were an engine, for the object of overthrowing his power, I will both resist the designs of the men who have contrived it, and I will enable you not only to perceive, but to be entire masters of the whole plot which I now see in preparation.

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